Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt

Fear, uncertainty and doubt (FUD) refers to a tactic of rhetoric and fallacy used in sales, marketing, public relations, politics and propaganda. FUD is generally a strategic attempt to influence public perception by disseminating negative and dubious/false information designed to undermine the credibility of their beliefs. The term originated in the computer hardware industry where IBM and later Microsoft were accused of using FUD tactics against their competitors, particularly open source software like Linnux.

An individual firm, for example, might use FUD to invite unfavorable opinions and speculation about a competitor’s product; to increase the general estimation of switching costs among current customers; or to maintain leverage over a current business partner who could potentially become a rival.

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